State reports financial problems to Becker College in Worcester

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Becker College in Worcester faces a sufficiently precarious financial situation that officials from the Department of Higher Education believe the school “is unlikely to continue operating over the next academic year” and embarked on contingency planning in the event of closure.

A Tuesday statement from the New England Department and Commission on Higher Education attributed Becker’s financial uncertainty in large part to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and said college administrators have turned their backs on themselves. “Met regularly to explore all reasonable options and determine how best to leverage all available resources to help support a plan that prioritizes the best interests of students, faculty, and staff.” “

“As stewards of Becker College, the Board of Trustees has endeavored to
examine a number of challenges facing higher education, including the decline of
college-aged students, the rising cost of high-quality education and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, ”Becker Board Chair Christine Cassidy said in a statement. “We have undertaken a thoughtful process of assessing the impact of these strengths on our College and considering all options. “

Becker College charges an annual full-time tuition fee of $ 37,850 for the 2021-2022 school year, with approximately 1,700 students enrolled, according to information on its website.

The higher education department said it was working with the college to develop contingency plans that “will ensure that students have the opportunity to transfer to other higher education institutions with minimal disruption of life. their education ”if Becker does not maintain operations at or near current levels. school year.

A law signed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2019 requires colleges and universities in Massachusetts to immediately notify higher education officials of any financial situation that could lead to their closure or an inability to fulfill their obligations to current or admitted students. . Schools facing a risk of closure must submit a contingency plan, including steps to notify students and staff in advance.

Becker College’s finance update marks the second time the department and NECHE have issued an opinion on a school’s financial conditions and the risk of potential closure.

The two agencies issued a joint statement on April 6, 2020 stating that Pine Manor College at Chestnut Hill could not “confirm that it can maintain its activities at current levels beyond the current academic year.” The following month, Pine Manor and Boston College announced a deal whereby British Columbia would take responsibility for the small school, its assets and liabilities, and students at Pine Manor could stay there as part of an apprenticeship agreement for up to two years.

State college closure law came after Mount Ida College’s abrupt closure in 2018 blinded students and faculty who found themselves looking for opportunities to further their education or careers. UMass Amherst purchased the Mount Ida campus in Newton.

Responding to the Becker College news, University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan said higher education as a whole “faces a period of unprecedented disruption caused by a decline in the number of high school graduates and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic “and that the The UMass system” is prepared to work with other colleges and universities and the Council on Higher Education to ensure that students have the opportunity to complete their studies from as smoothly as possible “.

“As a publicly funded public research university, creating access and opportunities for students is a central part of our mission,” Meehan said in a statement. “About 20 percent of our graduates begin their studies at UMass as transfer students. UMass has the experience and expertise to help displaced students and we pride ourselves on our support for students in these situations.”


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